USF1 co-founder Ken Anderson has broken his silence as to why his team will be absent from the 2010 F1 grid, but maintains hope that the team will be granted an entry in the 2011 championship.
Anderson spoke with AUTOSPORT just hours’ ago to
give a list of excuses explain why the team would be missing from the 2010 grid and the factors that contributed to it, particularly the controversial political battles and the threats of a breakaway series that occurred mid-2009.
The final blow, he says, came in mid-January when a key sponsor defaulted and did not deliver the funding it had promised.
"The way the chips fell in January, that put us behind," said Anderson. "There was really no point in trying to show up any time this year once you have missed the testing, and there is no testing during the year.
"There is no point in trying to miss races and show up, just to show up," he added. "That would just look bad for everybody."
Anderson also revealed that talks had taken place with Campos, Stefan GP and Toyota in the past few weeks to try and help the floundering team make it onto the grid. He is now awaiting confirmation from the FIA as to whether his team’s request to defer its entry until the 2011 season will be given the green light.
In all likelihood, the FIA will throw open the application book again, and it is expected it will outline the criteria for the acceptance of a thirteenth team.
Should USF1 not be given an automatic entry for 2011, then Anderson believes the team may need to be shut down completely.
Should the green light be given, however, he remained confident as to the team’s prospects: "What we want to do is regroup, finish the car for 2011, be testing late summer /early [autumn], and be really ready for next year," he said. "The irony of the situation is – we filed our entry in December of 2008 and we were supposed to know something by March.
"We moved into this building [in Charlotte] in March, ready to go. Then, if you remember last year, that was when all hell broke loose with the FIA, FOTA, cost-cap teams versus non-cost-cap teams and all that.
"Then everybody who wanted to get into F1, all the new teams, [they] tried to get in with the cost cap regulations… and we didn’t get approved by the FIA until June 12. Then the Concorde Agreement wasn’t signed to absolutely know that we could go forward until July 31. Losing those four months was always going to be difficult to recapture, but we were on schedule right up until mid-January, and that was when some issues arose with sponsors that kind of locked us up."
What Anderson is completely ignoring is that the confirmation of Lotus’ entry occurred much later than that of the other debutant teams (Virgin Racing, USF1 and Campos), and yet they have still been able to produce a car and a full line-up in time.
While Lotus certainly had some considerable backing from its principal investors, it’s hardly like USF1 was short of funds with chief investor (YouTube‘s co-founder) Chad Hurley writing the cheques.
I’m not completely buying this excuse, Ken!
When asked if Hurley – who had recently been rumoured to be shifting his allegiance to Campos or Stefan GP – would continue with his involvement in the team, Anderson said: "Chad would participate. He would not put all the money in. We have other investors who want to buy into the company, but it is in Chad’s interest, if it keeps going, to stay involved. He is in, but he is not going to pay for the whole thing. We do have investors lined up to do that."
I doubt we’ve been given the full story here!